Monday, June 25, 2012

Ants in my pants!

I've been antsy lately...
literally.
They're everywhere!!
Marching across my kitchen counter,
probably hiding in the coffee grinds and camouflaged  for no one to detect.

Sneaky little critters!

So I got my gloves on and took that Commercial size hefty version of Raid with the gun and holster -
Yup -
got my game face on.

All business.

I can slay bodies with the best of 'em.

Step aside Arnold...
the Terminator ain't got nothin' on me!

I machine gunned...I mean sprayed the perimeter of the house.
Even at the end of the driveway, marking my territory.
In every crack and crevice where they could 'sneak' their pesky selves in.

The nerve!

Uninvited so called guests, squeezing their way into our home.
Even through the outlets they showed up.
And apparently they've Evited and Facebooked all their friends and family -
cuz they are comin' too!

They're small but they're mighty -
and they're army has outnumbered me BIG time.

It's funny how harmless this critter is when you're stomping on them on your morning hike (barely noticing them under your Nike's) -
yet when they infiltrate your home,
they suddenly are 'in control'.

I'm left to wonder what other seemingly innocent things are entering my home...
uninvited.

Could also be through the outlets that our T.V.'s and our computers are plugged into.

The shows.
The images.
Not just the programs...
possibly the 'programming'.

Subtly infecting our thinking.

Now I'm not of the thinking you gotta throw your T.V.'s out and not use technology -
just don't let it use you.

Don't be so passive that you don't even notice when the corruption sneaks in unaware.

Don't wait til your home is crawling with this stuff -
spray your perimeters so they don't get in.

One isolated ant ...
or thought...
may not be such a threat.

But when it comes with a host of their friends...
THEN you're in trouble.

Matthew 26:41 says:

"All of you must keep awake (give strict attention)
be cautious and active, and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Be warned...you could be contagious!!

I'm reading several books right now.
One is very inspiring,
one is technical about writing,
and the last is just plain fun.

I find I like to read a little bit of each, otherwise I get bored.

The inspirational one helps my heart.
Gets my head in the right place.
Calms me.

The technical one challenges me -
to hone my craft.
Teaches me.
Helps me 'feel' a little bit smarter. (Emphasis on 'feel' ;)

The fun one?
Well lets just say it entertains me.
Helps me loosen my recreational tie.
To have fun and not feel bad about it...
especially since I just got done doing the 'work'
of reading the technical nerdy stuff.
It's my reward. (Dessert)

It's good advice to take in life.

1. Be inspired.
2. Work hard.
3. Play hard.

If you hang out too long in just one of those areas,
you either get burned out and bitter...
or become ineffective and therefore depressed!
(neither of which God has called us to.)

In one of these books, Nicole Johnson asks a poignant question:

"If you could stand around at your own funeral and hear people talk about what they remember about you, what would you want them to be saying?"

She then says, "When we are honest, most of our days are full of things that we don't want to be doing.  It is hard to find epitaph material in those activities!  What woman in her right mind would want, "THIS WOMAN COULD IRON" carved in stone above her head?

The tricky part is in making an impact. 
Whether you're running a huge Company,
or running a household...
you're ultimately impacting society through those employees...
or through those kids you've been training all those years.

And don't let the world tell you your role at home is just about chores. 
It's about the attitude you have as you tackle them.

The 'joy' in the mundane.

The 'peace' in the midst of the chaos.

The 'calm' in the storm.

Be warned...
these things are contagious!

Stay away from others when you have this kinda
fever -
or they're bound to catch some of it themselves!

Friday, June 22, 2012

A bunch of cowards bullying the innocent! (There! I said it!)

Feeling a bit outraged right now!
Did I say a 'bit'?
There are no words.
But I'll attempt, since it's kinda hard to blog with no words.

I watched the news, and saw a video of a bus monitor being verbally abused by a bunch of sissy boys, I mean 7th graders. 

Apparently the video has gone viral on You Tube and I'm glad to see others are horrified by such conduct!
To the point where people have raised over a half million $'s to send this poor 65 year old woman on her dream vacation.  Now there's a blessing in disguise!

She contained her self, demonstrating amazing self-control...and I believe she was rewarded for that.

They went as far as saying, "If I were your kid I'd kill myself."  Little did they know that her son had committed suicide.  She just sat there and cried, with no sympathy in sight! Just a bunch of harrassment surrounding her while someone videotaped the 10 minutes of abuse.


"Forgive them, for they know not what they do."
(these words keep ringing in my ears -
the words of Jesus who put up with and tolerated so much more -
to the point of death!)

So I sit here vascillating between wanting these bully's to pay for what they've done and wringing their scrawny little necks...
and at the same time I know I should forgive them for they obviously 'know not what they do!!!'

My son was outraged when he saw these kids were capable of such abuse to this innocent woman.

He asked me, "How do kids get to such a state as this?"

Got me scratching my head in wonder and imagining how they are being raised.  What they are being modeled. And why people sat by and didn't defend the defenseless.

I'd be worried for these cowards if my boys were on the bus that day!  Even if my girls were on it.
I can't see them sitting by.

Idle.
Observing.
Silent.

I don't think it's in their DNA to stand by.

Psalm 82:4 says to "Rescue the weak and needy people.  Help them escape the power of wicked people."

vs. 3 says, "You're here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break.  Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them."

And although this focus was a call to judges in particular, God expects all of His people to be leaders when it comes to standing for what is right.

We're not to all set out to seek revenge, but in situations with 'Bully's in Training'...
our silence can be just as bad.
It's giving our stamp of approval.
A form of support!

We not only need to be concerned about our sins of 'commission'...
but our acts of 'ommission'.

What AREN'T we doing that we should?!
(Phewww...thanks for letting me get that off my chest!)

Here's the horrendous video...caution, some language and stuff that'll make your skin crawl,
but no use burying our heads in the sand...
this stuff happens right where we live!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I've missed...I've lost...therefore I succeeded!

"I've 'missed' more than 9000 shots in my career.

I've 'lost' almost 300 games.

26 times I've been trusted to make the game winning shot...
and 'missed'.

I failed over and over and over again in my life...
and that is why I succeed!" - Michael Jordan

"If you're not failing, you're not learning!" - Derek Sivers

Because of our perfectionism we don't risk growing more.
We choose safe.
What we know.

I sit here grappling with how many things I 'could have' accomplished.
If only I was willing to 'fail'.

It's amazing how this message I've been hearing for months.  "It's not failure...
everything is just an experiment."  - Matthew Ferry and Derek Silvers.

It's safer to sit back and be an arm chair quarterback...
yelling at the screen on how the player shoulda done it
(you know you do that!!)...
or the call the ref 'shoulda' made...

but get in there and get dirty?

Nah.

Too much of a risk.

Now others critique us.

We prefer to be judge and jury.

Safe.

God doesn't call us to a life of safety.

He calls us out.
Out of our hiding place.
Away from comfort.
To go to a place He will 'eventually' show us.
He doesn't hand us the blue print so we can study it and decide.
Use our 'brilliant' human reasoning.
No.
Go!

Stretch.

Started in the very beginning.
Genesis 12:1
"Go to the land that 'I will show you'.
(Not the one I already told you about to alleviate all your fears so you can get a safe assessment of whether this is a good decision or not...)

as if you know better than the God of the Universe.

Good luck with that!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

No matter what, you have a Father you can count on!



My Dad.

So many things pop in my mind as I reflect on what a great man he is in my life.

In one sense, he's kinda like the Mayor...
everyone seems to know him.
Young and old.
We walk down the dock where he keeps his boat and he strikes up conversations with just about everyone. He seems to fit in with all types.

Whether he was serving on a Board, or volunteering to help clean up the Church on Saturday mornings,
he has a presence.

You won't find him sitting around doing nothing...that is for sure!
He is either jet setting between his 2 homes in Florida or Lake Side in Upstate New York.  You'll find him either on the golf course, riding his motorcycle, part of a snowmobile club, at the Daytona Bike Races, or Saratoga Horse Races...
he's not much for sitting still.(for too long.)
Unless he breaks a rib like he did this past week..
but chances are he'll still be fitting in a few chores.

He's the kind of guy that if he showed up a few minutes late for church,
he would slip in the back door quietly and grab a quick seat in the back.
He wouldn't march up the aisle to the front seat and be a distraction to those who got there on time.  You certatinly won't find him driving slow in the passing lane.  And if there's a movie out having anything to do with cruelty to animals -
he won't be anywhere to be found!

He's not much for dwelling on the bad news -
he'd rather focus on the good.

He is generous to the core!

Growing up, if there was something going on n our neighborhood,
whether a fire or a bike being stolen -
he was the first to jump in the car to get to the bottom of it...
and I'd be right at his heels asking, "Can I come???"
(and off we went!)

If I run a situation by him, before he would even give his advice, he would preface it with, "Do you want my opinion?"

I am grateful for this man I call Dad.
Grateful that I still have him in my life when so many others have lost theirs
or don't have a relationship with them.

Regardless of your situation this Father's Day...
remember we have a Father in Heaven to celebrate who will never disappoint.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

'Choosing' to Celebrate

Celebrating!

Celebrating my mom who has a Birthday today.

Celebrating my Father on Sunday for Father's Day.

Celebrating my Father-in-Law and my Step Dad.

And I celebrate the Father of my children.

What a gift to have so many reasons to celebrate in the midst of the craziness.  Regardless of the challenging times and the difficulties...
we can hit the pause button...
and celebrate -

that person...
that love.

No one said the conditions have to be perfect to celebrate.

Whether it be on paper plates or on fine China,
we reflect on what matters...
WHO matters.

I think of all the Hollywood couples with padded bank accounts, all the toys and bells and whistles, and yet...
not celebrating.

Arguing over pre-nups and property,
the division of assets.

The almighty dollar doesn't solve THAT.

Relationships are what can stand the test of time.  Regardless of the climate around us, we can weather the storm.  Protect it from the winds of change and the storms that inevitably WILL come.

You winterize the 'house' when snow is in the forecast.

You carry an umbrella to protect you from the rain.

You intentionally prepare for 'Come what may'.

Cuz chances are...it will!

John 16:33 promises..."In this world...you WILL have trouble."
(not might...not possibly...WILL!)

That's a guarantee!
A promissory note.
Won't be needin' that to get notarized.

Oh, but don't forget the 2nd part.
The best part...

"...but be courageous -
I have overcome the world!"

Trouble.

Let me define...

Pain
Suffering
Distress
Agony
Affliction
Tribulation
Grief...

Then the Greek has the audacity to say, "be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world."

(I know, sounds like a cruel joke.)

But. God.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Huh? Oh, I'm sorry...I forgot!

Just finished watching the movie, "The Vow" - based on a true story. 
A woman gets in an accident -  loses her memory, (well, part of it.)
She forgets her husband.
Doesn't remember their life together.
Can't remember her love for art.
The loud music she loved to play while sculpting.

Yet...

she also forgot that she had no relationship with her parents.
She had no recollection of the 'family trauma'.

And I got to thinkin' what a 'gift' memory loss could be for so many of us.
To forget the past.
To live AS IF it never happened. (The bad parts, that is.)
And to newly discover all the down right amazing things that drew you to your spouse, with a fresh pair of eyes.
As if for the first time.
A do over.

I love the fact that God gives us that gift!
(Without the brain injury.)

Philippians 3:13-14 says, "Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  I press on..."
(which is the first mention of forgiveness in scripture.)

In Ephesians 4:32, Paul wrote that we should forgive eachother as God has forgiven us.  To think Christ hung on that cross and His last few words were, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Who are we to harbor unforgiveness when that is the example He has set for our sorry selves?!

I am grateful for that kinda radical forgiveness!

(Oh myyyy...I just finished writing this and my phone beeped, and it was a tweet from Joyce Meyer:  Let go of what lies behind and take a step forward.)

THAT'S A WRAP!







Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Wrestling Match continues!

Discipline.
Life requires it.
IF you want to live it well.

And yet the Tyranny of the Urgent continues to beckon me.
It tries to suck me in.
I'll be honest, I wrestle with it like those wrestlers on the mat,
in a choke hold,
trying to pull off some crazy manuevers,
all while twisted like a pretzel with their opponent.

Ever feel like that?

Take today for example.
Had to review a 50 page Business Plan for our Business,
shot out an email to hubby with some changes we should make
(structuring, typos, etc.)...
all the while I got phone calls that I 'could' have answered but tried to remain on task.

Then I try to meet my writing discipline and set myself up outside -
Book I'm writing...check.
Protein Shake...check.
Pen...of course check.

And then...

Hubby calls and says, "Do you have time to go over these changes, because I got a break right now."

Gulp.

The wrestling match begins.
Should I?
Shouldn't I?
Do I drop everything?
I mean...hey, 'he' has a break.
It's convenient for 'him'.

The wrestling continues.
The Proverbs 31 woman has the nerve to slip into my wrestling match.
(I know, right?!)

Then I said it.
The 'N' word.
No.

(I hear you gasping, "Oh no you didn't.")
I did.

But remember...it was a question.
He asked IF I had time right now?
(I mean certainly we probably all have time right now.)
But then something else gets shoved aside.

Yet we also need to make appointments with ourself.

And. Keep. Them.

It would be disrespectful if we didn't keep appointments with other people.
If we blew them off when something better came along.

Yet aren't we disrespecting ourselves when we don't keep appointments with ourselves?

The appointment with ourself to spend time with God in the morning.
The appointment with ourself to work out.
The appointment with ourself to work our job.

And to rest.

Just like other people take us more seriously when we keep our appointments with them...

I think we take ourselves more seriously when we keep our appointments with ourselves.

Now I know you're all feeling bad for poor 'ol hubby -
trust me, he's fine.
If it was an emergency, I swear I'd drop everything.
(If there was blood involved, I mean.)

Obviously we need to have some flexibility, even with a schedule.
But for the most part we need to be intentional.

So I tried to set up an appointment with him, and we'll be going over it tonight. (You can put your minds at ease.)

And I need to get better at not interrupting his schedule when he is working on a spreadsheet, and I just start discussing something that's on my mind. 

So as much as we dread schedules sometimes...
I know me...
If I didn't set out a plan to do certain things...
I doubt I'd ever get around to doing any of them.
(especially the laundry.)

(And just now my daughter called to see if I would call the orthodontist.)

Tempted again.

Almost quickly did it to get it off the list.
But it can wait.
It's funny, I wasn't even 'intentionally' answering her call.
I opened the phone to look up a bible reference and there she was.
(also slipping into the wrestling match...cute little thing.)

I Corinthians 9:26-27

"So I run with purpose in every step.  I am not just shadowboxing." (NLT)

"Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim).  I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary." (AMP)

"So I run - but not without a clear goal ahead of me.  So I box - but not as if I were just shadow boxing."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

For God's sake...DON'T pray for patience unless you mean it!

DON'T pray for patience...
unless you're ready for the test that follows.
 
I prayed that quick prayer as I picked up my daughter from school...
(I should know better...I'm always telling people NOT  to pray for patience!)
Because the only way you learn it is through aggrivating circumstances,

trust me,

I know this.

No sooner did I utter the prayer...
and it left my lips...
and a girl who I normally don't carpool home decided to come home with us and chew her cup of ice cubes...

ALL. THE. WAY. HOME!!!

I'm sorry...
did I say chew?

I meant 'CHOMP!'

Now some of you are shutting off your computer as we speak,
because that is one of your favorite past times.

Don't worry...I have my own list of annoying habits!

The good news is I didn't embarrass or confront the innocent 'cruncher'...
I bit my lip for the sake of my daughter who would have been horrified at my counsel of,
"I'm sure it must be terrible for your teeth."
(as if my dental concerns for her was what was driving my need for the conversation.)


I have to say...
I chuckled out loud as I recognized that this was a 'test'.
(please tell me I'm not an awful carpool parent, you've been there...right?

I knew it...just me!).

I think praying for patience is not for the weary at heart.
And more likely what we MEAN is...

"Lord, MAKE me BE patient!"

as opposed to,

"Lord, TEACH me patience."

We want the Pronto!

Instamatic!

Voila version.

We want to avoid the
'going through'.

1 Thessalonians 5:14
"Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs.
And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other.  Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out."

Ok Lord...
lesson learned.





Friday, June 8, 2012

Ignoring the 'Helicopters'...it's just noise!

There's something to be said when you hear helicopters over your head...

ALL

DAY

LONG...

because there is a fire in your little town.

It's hard to completely relax when you stop and listen.

Initially, because I was busy and on the phone, I didn't even notice.

Or wonder.

Then my son called on his way to work and filled me in.

The firetrucks.
The helicopters.
The traffic crawling.
The ramp on our exit closed.

Then the 'News' filled in all the blanks.

Now...

once all the noise is shut off,
and I sit here 'trying' to write -
the helicopters that once seemed 'way off in the distance'...
are literally blaring through amps in my ears!!!

Cuz I'm 'TUNED IN' !!!

Sometimes that can happen with our fears.
They linger in the background (waiting to pounce).
We get too busy to notice all the things that should 'apparently' be making us panic.

But suddenly you...'get the call' ...
warning you of the danger -
maybe the creditor calls...
or the Doctor...
the News.

Then suddenly you dial into your fears.
Meditating on them.

Then those alarms (those helicopters)
start sounding off in your head.

Sometimes we need to stop meditating on our problems
(and stop rehearsing the 'what if's')...
and start meditating on 'the One' who can handle them.

I love the saying, "I don't know what the future holds,
but I know who holds the future!"
That calms a lot of fears that I could camp on all day long!
I don't panic about a lot of things.
(except when my kids walk up behind me when I'm cooking...
then you'll see me come out of my skin!!  Just ask 'em!  We made a pact that they will warn me with a, "Mom...I'm coming down the stairs and entering the kitchen" kinda pact.)

I simply trust God.

He has a plan that is infinitely better than any plan I could devise on my own.

And if He can sleep on a boat in the middle of stormy seas -
then I CAN TOO!













c

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Faith is prone to wander, in more ways than one

So my chubby little yorkie named Faith sat by the gate on the side yard while I worked on writing my book.
She looks all innocent here..
but earlier she was sniffing around,
glancing through the bars,
then she looked over her shoulder to see if I was watching.
I, of course, pretending I wasn't...
kept peering at her out of the corner of my eye.

I waited.
And wondered.
Would she actually try?

So finally, after standing on her hind legs...
she poked her head through.
I held my breath wondering...
and sure enough,
she squeezed her chunky little self through those narrow bars.

I YELLED...
and she hit the deck!

I couldn't believe my eyes.
What would make her so crazy to wanna leave ME?
To leave THIS?
This wonderful life?

She's definately not lacking in the food department...
and Lord knows she gets more than enough attention.
(The proof is the many pics of her on my phone!)

What is it about a fence that calls out to us -

dangles the carrot for a better life?

Oh the possibilities!

And yet if she made a run for it, she'd be at risk of so much danger.
Of getting lost, or worse yet...killed.
(can't you picture her running the neighborhood, wind in her hair?
I'm envisioning an Alpo commercial in her future.)

Yet our nature is prone to wander.
God sets up boundaries and borders.
(Gates, so to speak)...
to keep us safe.
Yet we think we can jump the fence and beat the odds.

Fortunately, Faith is back.
And my faith has returned...believing that although we may wander off,
God still wants us to come home.
Hopefully she is grateful for the life she has...
and hopefully we can be too!

(Didn't anyone tell her the grass isn't greener?)








Wednesday, June 6, 2012

'To Do'...or not 'To Do'...THAT is the question!

The infamous 'To Do' list.
It's a love/hate thing...

oh how I love to hate it!

I love the cute little check marks,
and the feeling that follows.
And yet I hate that as soon as one task disappears,
it's as if it gave birth to triplets overnight!
You never have that satisfaction of completion for very long.
It fades rapidly.

On one hand, I should be grateful for things 'To Do'.
My sweet sister, who has been wheelchair bound for over 25 years would love to trade her immobility for a crazy, hectic, busy life with a 'To Do' list in hand.

Just the activity.
The busyness.
That feeling of accomplishment.
And yet I look at all SHE accomplishes...
without as much 'activity'.

She impacts lives.
She changes our perspective.
She helps us SEE.
She is way more in tune...to a need...to a cup that needs to be refilled...
to a gift that needs to be given.

She is on it!

Because her ability is lacking in one area,
it is magnified in others.
She teaches me to be grateful,
through her silence.

A great teacher doesn't need words.
She lost her ability to talk over 25 years ago too...
but her life continues to speak in spite of it.
Words sometimes just get in the way anyway.

Have you ever heard the quote by St. Frances of Assipi:
"Preach the Gospel at all times.
When necessary,
use words."

That's how I see my beautiful Robbie -
her life speaks louder and clearer than any word could possibly utter.
Words seem to be so black and white compared to her LIVE and in color,
3D life!

I think WE have the disability...

not her.

Our wheelchair of words that restrict us.

She paints a picture without a brush.
She lives it out in front of us.
Her dependency on others to do for her.
Yet we strut around with our so called 'independence'.
Relying on ourselves.
Not needing anyones help.
'I can do it...hear me roar' mentality.

And yet that makes it harder for us..
.
to lean on God.

To be 'dependent'.

She has learned to do it so much better through her lack of independence.

A 'gift' wrapped up in unique packaging.

P.S.  She is currently in the ER fighting for her life...remember that as you are tempted to 'grumble' about... 

'whatever'.











Monday, June 4, 2012

Graduate with honor

Such an 'eventful' weekend.
We had the privilege to go to our Son's Graduation.
Zack graduated this year early, but this was the official Ceremony.
Carter graduated last year but walked in cap and gown with his brother since he missed last years Ceremony.

Yet with all the celebrating going on in our house...
the following day was my friend's Dad's Funeral.

So over that 2 day span...
while I watched my Sons walk across the stage with a diploma
(and we were celebrating)...

she watched her Dad go down an aisle in a casket.
(and she was mourning).

What a contrast.

Both of them are Graduation Days.

One is filled with hope and anticipation of the future here on earth.
(our temporary home).

The other is a promise of the things to come...for those who believe.
(our permanent home).

What a day that will be!

While those who are left behind mourn the loss, and the sadness sets in...
we get to yearn for the day that we can have that Ultimate Family Reunion!

And while the High School Diploma gets tossed in a drawer,
and the tassle fades...
the Ultimate Graduation will usher us in next to our Father,
the King of Kings.

My heart aches for my friend.
A daughter.
Missing her dad.

Such a contrast these past few days.

Ecclesiastes says it best:

"There is a time for everything
and a season for every activity under the heavens.

A time to be born

and a time to die...

a time to mourn

and a time to dance."

Please keep Kim and her family in your prayers!

And the following Graduation picture is of my Father-In-Law who passed away years ago...
We may not have graduated with Honors here on earth...
but we can graduate with Honor in heaven!



Friday, June 1, 2012

Guest Blog: Words Ain't so Scary

Hi Friends!

I asked my friend Matt who is an Author/Coach (and a lot more that he will tell you about) to be a guest blogger here on Faith Develops in the Dark.  He has been very instrumental to me in writing my first book.  He was the one who encouraged me to develop my platform by starting my blog.  He is a great resource for anyone who may be interested.  I gave him free reign to say 'whatever'...so don't hold me responsible! ;)

Lori's nagging writing coach
Hey all you friends and readers of Lori’s blog. I’m Matt Moran, an author, business coach, Christian iconoclast (trouble-maker/rabble rouser), and songwriter/musician. (links provided throughout and at the end of the post).

Lori asked me to guest blog.. I said yes, and now you have to endure me for a moment. I apologize for the length – not really but I felt compelled to say that. Lori’s post are shorter.